1. Heading into a tack make sure there’s nobody over your shoulder. Start by pulling the kite up towards the top of the window. Timing depends on kite size and power – bigger kites need take longer to climb, and if you are lit on any kite size you need to give it a ton of time to get to the top of the window. Remember, the kite is seeing close to 40 knots of apparent wind in 20 knots of breeze!
2. Wait for the kite to get almost directly overhead, and then start pointing the board up into the wind by pushing on your back foot and putting your weight onto the kite
3. Push the bar away from you so you don’t get lofted.
4. Let the kite hold you up as it swings across the top of the window. Trim in for more power to hold you up, but don’t stall the kite. Often, especially on foil kites, it’s better to turn the kite harder instead of trimming in for more power.
5. Pull your back foot from the old back strap, swing under the kite, and aim for the new front strap. You need to nail this new front footstrap or it’s pretty hard to recover. Your old front foot should help you pull the board around and control the roll of the board.
6. Fall back against the kite as it dives and try to find the back footstrap. When learning, just try to land the back foot centered on the board and try to exit the tack on a reach with the board flat before heading back upwind.
Keep in mind that all foils are different. Some are really stable in roll, and others fall sideways if you don’t pay attention.
There are pros and cons to tacking both. On my Sword foil I have to point my toes going into a tack to start the roll of the board over to the new direction or I come out with the board headed downwind and fall over the board onto my face. My Spotz has quicker roll response, which means I don’t have to point my toes to convince it to roll to the new side, but I have to pay more attention during the maneuver
Words by Johnny Heineken | Photos by Michael Petrikov